A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Online Colleges in America
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Choosing the Right College for You

This year’s U.S News and World Report 2018 ranking of the best online colleges is out and is, as is typical, pretty extensive. There’s too much to write about here, but for a quick review of the report’s bachelor and graduate degree highlights, read on.

Find Your Degree
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According to the publication, “US News chose factors that weigh how these programs are being delivered and their effectiveness at awarding affordable degrees in a reasonable amount of time.”

US News and World Report ranks schools in four main areas: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, and peer reputation. Further, only accredited schools are being reported about here. Though smaller, non-accredited programs exist and may be a decent fit for most, it is harder to vet them without the peer reviews and institutional backing that accreditation brings. These colleges and universities have all been accredited by peer institutions or organizations such as CHEA.

Each of the online schools on this list is affiliated with a brick-and-mortar school as well.

Some notes regarding these universities and colleges:

  • All of these schools are public institutions unless noted otherwise
  • All of these online programs have rolling application dates unless noted otherwise

Top Online Schools by Undergraduate Program

Ohio State University — Columbus

  • Columbus, OH
  • Public university
  • Online enrollment is just under 400 people
  • The most popular degree track is nursing
  • $375 per credit hour

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (tied for 2nd place)

  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Private university with about 15,000 enrolled
  • The top two degree areas are in aeronautics/aviation/aerospace technology and business administration, management and operations. This school ranks very high for the sophistication in technology and support they offer to their online students.
  • $375 per credit hour

Temple University (tied for 2nd place)

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • This school has excellent faculty credentials and training rankings
  • Popular with business or marketing majors
  • $525 per credit hour

Arizona State University

  • Tempe, AZ
  • Has been offering online programs for over 10 years
  • 29,621 BA degree track students enrolled
  • $510 per credit
  • This liberal arts college is the first on the list to have a fairly evenly spread percentage of students in various majors, with the highest being psychology majors (9%). It also has fairly consistent, solid rankings throughout without any stand-outs other than a peer ranking of 3.8 out of 5.

Utah State University

  • Logan, UT
  • 1,599 BA students enrolled
  • $325 per credit
  • Communication sciences and disorders, general is the most popular major

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR
  • Computer science is the most popular major
  • $210 per credit hour

Pennsylvania State University--World Campus (tie)

  • University Park, PA
  • Registered nurse and business/commerce are tied for most popular BA majors
  • This is the second online program from Pennsylvania on the list

University of North Carolina--Wilmington (tie)

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 1,139 enrolled BA students
  • Tuition is $668 per credit
  • Ranks high in student engagement
  • Registered nursing is the most popular major

Colorado State University — Global Campus (tie)

  • Greenwood Village, CO
  • 11,779 enrolled in the BA program
  • $350 per credit
  • Most popular major is business administration and management

University of Oklahoma (tie)

  • Norman, OK
  • 1,234 enrolled
  • Tuition is $672 per credit hour

West Texas A&M University (tie)

  • Canyon, TX
  • Application deadline: August 1
  • This is the only online bachelor degree program on the list with a set application deadline
  • 1,260 enrolled in BA program
  • $295 per credit
  • Business and marketing are the most popular majors

Top Online Schools by Graduate Program

Clemson University (Moore)

  • Clemson, SC
  • Must take the GRE; public school
  • Every student enrolled in the online program is already employed
  • Application deadline: April 1
  • $414 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 96 people enrolled

Creighton University

  • Omaha, NE
  • Tied with University of Florida for second
  • Creighton University is the only private school on this list
  • $545 per credit
  • 232 people enrolled

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • Tied for second with Creighton University
  • Requires GRE; public school
  • 89% are already employed when they first enroll
  • Must take the GRE
  • $518 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 194 people enrolled

University of North Texas

  • Denton, TX
  • Do not have to take the GRE
  • 100% of students are already employed when they first enroll
  • $367 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 645 people enrolled

Northern Illinois University

  • DeKalb, IL
  • 98% employed
  • Must take GRE
  • fifth in education programs (tie)
  • 98% of students are already employed when they enroll
  • $520 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 178 people enrolled

University of Houston

  • Houston, TX
  • Tied for fifth place with Utah State University
  • 90% of students are already employed when they first enroll
  • Applicants must take the GRE
  • Application deadline: February 1
  • $947 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 117 people enrolled

Utah State University

  • Logan, UT
  • Tied for fifth with the University of Houston
  • 92% of students are employed when they first enroll at the school
  • Does not require the GRE
  • Application deadline: April 1
  • $415 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 146 people enrolled

Pennsylvania State University — World Campus

  • University Park, PA
  • Tied for eighth place with University at Albany — SUNY, University of Massachusetts — Lowell, and University of Georgia
  • 85% of students are already employed when they enroll at the school
  • $853 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 869 people enrolled

University at Albany — SUNY

  • Albany, NY
  • Tied for eighth with Pennsylvania State University — World Campus, Georgia State University, and University of Massachusetts — Lowell
  • $543 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 272 people enrolled

University of Georgia

  • Athens, GA
  • Tied for eighth with University at Albany — SUNY and Pennsylvania State University — World Campus
  • 98% are employed when enrolled in the school
  • Applicants must take the GRE exam
  • Application deadline: July 1
  • $629 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 149 people enrolled

University of Massachusetts — Lowell

  • Lowell, MA
  • Tied for eighth with Pennsylvania State University, University of Georgia, and University of Albany — SUNY
  • $470 per credit (out-of-state)
  • 257 people enrolled
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